Is Cleanliness to Blame for Increasing Allergies?
Allergies have become a widespread in developed countries: hay fever, eczema, hives and asthma are all increasingly prevalent. The reason? Excessive cleanliness is to blame according to Dr. Guy Delespesse, a professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine.
Allergies can be caused by family history, air pollution, processed foods, stress, tobacco use, etc. Yet our limited exposure to bacteria concerns Dr. Delespesse, who is also director of the Laboratory for Allergy Research at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.
“There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime.”
In 1980, 10 percent of the Western population suffered from allergies. Today, it is 30 percent. In 2010, one out of 10 children is said to be asthmatic and the mortality rate resulting from this affliction increased 28 percent between 1980 and 1994.
“It’s not just the prevalence but the gravity of the cases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “Regions in which the sanitary conditions have remained stable have also maintained a constant level of allergies and inflammatory diseases.”
“Allergies and other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis are the result of our immune system turning against us,” says Dr. Delespesse. Continue reading Is Cleanliness Next to Illness?
With increased funding and a mandate to crack down on under reporting and safety violations there has been a significant uptick in OSHA enforcement activity. For employers this means more inspections and increased enforcement penalties. In the last year, OSHA has nearly tripled the number of significant cases (citations including fines of $100,000 or more). Employers should also be prepared for increased scrutiny of injury and illness record keeping and reporting and safety programs that incentivize underreporting.
In addition there is likely to be increased regulatory action. OSHA’s latest semiannual regulatory agenda released in December, includes 27 regulatory items ranging from global harmonization of classification of chemicals, combustible dust, crystalline silica, PPE, confined spaces in construction to musculoskeletal disorder reporting requirements and a final Cranes and Derricks in Construction rule.
Preparing now for the aggressive enforcement will help reduce the potential liability that employers face if OSHA does arrive. Here are nine steps to take:
1. Analyze worksite risk. Take the time now to do your own diligent walkthrough to identify potential problems. It’s important to recognize that if there are multi-employers involved, the controlling employer can be cited for issues created by vendors, so all aspects of the work place or site need to be examined.
2. Conduct a Record keeping Audit. Verify that your OSHA 300 Log is up to date and accurately reflects all reportable injuries and illnesses. Crosscheck with other records relating to injuries and illnesses (e.g., incident reports, first aid records, medical records and workers’ compensation claims) against your OSHA 300 Log. Continue reading OSHA On The Prowl. Will You Be Next?